Monday, June 01, 2009

A First Time for Everything

Today was my first day in bogu. Needless to say, it was pretty rough. I’ve come to the conclusion that Kendo is like sword fighting in a spacesuit. I was able to wear the tare (waist and hip protector) and the do (the chest protector) last Thursday’s practice. Today I was able to put on the whole enchalada. I added the kote (the glove-like hand and wrist protector) and the men (head and face protection, sort of).

Swinging the shinai (the bamboo sword) is completely different. The initial position that you start out in and transition to in the swing feel completely different. Even how you grip the shinai is somewhat challenging in the cumbersome kote.
While the bogu is made to protect, it does not completely isolate the wearers completely from the strikes. There is some pain involved. I took a couple of shots to the top of the head that have left a sore spot from today’s practice. While practicing strikes to the wrist or kote I was feeling a sort of an electrical jolt fly up my arm each time after I was struck. I then realized that I had the extra pad for protecting the wrist that is worn under the kote was on the wrong arm.

Seeing, hearing and breathing are greatly restricted while wearing the headpiece or men. The men is also somewhat heavy so on occasion you find your head bobbing around from the weight of the metal mask in the front.
I know that even though I had been exposed to Kendo throughout my life and had understood many of the basics and principles I now know that I know nothing at all. I know that despite the fact that I have spent the past 10 months to get to this point of getting beyond the basics of strikes, swinging, control and foot work that I am again starting all over again...from day one.

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